ARMED and drunk youths collecting money from the travelling public under duress at the landslide affected part of the Mendi-Tari road in Nipa district, Southern Highlands province, are amplifying the already poor perception about the district.
A long-serving public servant in the province, Francis Ank, said the poor public perception of Nipa as a notorious place has been further fuelled by the actions of the armed youths at the landslip at Kumitpe near Sangura Primary School.
Mr Ank said at the weekend that community leaders and government authorities must act as the youths mostly from Toan village have been charging and collecting so much money from the public under duress for more than a week.
He made the call after paying K550 to the youths on Saturday – K50 in the morning on his way to Tari from Mendi and K500 at night on his return.
The youths were armed and apparently drunk.
He said Nipa already has a poor reputation as a lawless place because of the actions of a minority and the behaviour of the Toan youths gives further credibility to that unfortunate perception.
Mr Ank, from Mendi, said he and those in his vehicle have been made to pay the youths on several occasions during the week since the road block occurred early last Monday and the K550 on Saturday was the highest he paid.